262 pp., $22.00
ISBN: 0 060 17824 8
Review by Harriet Klausner
In 1918 Pasadena, California, Romy March over the objections of her parents, drops out of college to accept a job as a gopher at a local movie company. Also working at the same company as a gardener is a black acquaintance, Augustine Marks, who Romy knew in high school. Romy and Augustine spend time together and both admit they are very attracted to one another. When her father learns about his daughter's affair with a Negro, he tosses her out of their home. She meets Augustine at the train station and the pair heads to New York together where they pretend to be married. Augustine becomes a major photographer while Romy feels her artistic needs are playing second fiddle to her beloved and his career.
When a former fling of Augustine arrives in town, Romy leaves for Paris to learn her craft better. Though they meet in France, neither is ready for a permanent commitment. As Romy's star rises, she realizes that she still loves her black man and he reciprocates. Perhaps, one day when both feel that their artistic needs have been met, they will find a life together. But then again, both are constantly learning and growing so perhaps it is better if they only see each other every few years or so.
The Passion Dream Book is a novel that symbolizes the struggle of women to find a niche in a man's world whether it is the Renaissance in Italy (the other major story line in this novel) or in the twentieth century. The story of an open bi-racial couple not even tolerated by her parents let alone society makes for a poignant book that encourages readers to rise above the stereotypes expected of them by society and family. Great work by Whitney Otto.
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